Celebrate Your Birthday

On Thursday October 9th, I turned twenty-two years old. A few days leading up to my birthday I overheard a conversation where an older woman was telling her granddaughter that on her next birthday she would still be twenty-nine years old. I smiled a bit, amused and then went on my way. Once I got home though and had to time think it over - I realized I disagreed with that woman. 
I have fought to live my whole life. My family has fought for me to live. My doctors have fought for me. I'm never going to lie about my age. Every birthday is a gift, one that is never guaranteed - for any of us. Some people view getting older as a bad thing. They inject themselves with Botox or get surgeries to make themselves look younger. Growing old to me is exciting. Every day that I grow older means I'm still alive. 

I was given a 13% chance of living to the age of five and as of Thursday I turned twenty-two. "Age is just a number." is a common phrase people tell themselves - hoping to reassure themselves that they aren't that old. But to me age is not just a number. Age is a celebration. Age means you made it. You're alive. You survived. Getting older to me is a miracle because I wasn't supposed to get to this age. I am always going to celebrate my birthday, no matter wrinkly I get because my family and I have worked so hard to keep me alive for every birthday I've ever had and will ever have. I am grateful for every birthday because I know firsthand that they are not always guaranteed. I hope you celebrate every birthday and realize how lucky you are to be getting older. Not everyone is given that opportunity and one day, those birthdays are going to end for all of us. Let us celebrate them while we can. 

Hope and Love,
Becca 

8 comments:

  1. Hello Becca, I'm Dorothy and have just read your blog.

    I was born with an Aorta Pulmonary Window, which is a very rare condition. My parents were told that I wouldn't survive to adulthood, but I did, despite the fact that there was no medication or heart/lung transplants when I was young. I later went on to develop Pulmonary Hypertension/Eisenmenger's Syndrome. Life hasn't always been easy, but, like you, I've been determined to live it to the best of my ability, celebrating each birthday, especially the "big ones". I won't bore you with my many stories, but must say that last month I celebrated my 66th birthday.

    I wish you well and look forward to reading your future blogs. xxx

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  2. This may be your very best post ever. I couldn't agree with you more. YES!

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  3. Hi Becca.... I'm Edward's mom... Happy Birthday!!! I hope you had a wonderful birthday celebration. My CHD son turned 33 on Sept 29 and i know what you mean about birthdays. For him, without so many heart surgeries, he would not have lived past childhood so he to treasures every birthday. Again, happy birthday to you.

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  4. Thank you Becca, this is wonderful. Your spirit is amazing and I agree: live every day and every birthday with appreciation!
    As a med student, I have seen so many babies with exactly what you have fighting to survive; and it is such a blessing for me to read about your journey and your SURVIVAL. Keep doing what you do, I love it!

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  5. Becca I'm glad to have read your story I'm 45 and had a heart attack this past february eighteen days before my birthday I've been going grey haired since I was fifteen and always colored it I have stopped that and I have llts of grey but I love it and so does all my family and friends I lost my brother two years ago at age 37 to a heart attack so I feel as you do to still be haveing birthdays and cherish them especially since I have 2 grandaughters 6and 2 to watch grow up I want to be here to see them graduate marry and so forth I savor every moment I have with them and my daughter it all counts so very much and ihope and pray u live a long and fulfilling life full of unforgettable memories

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  6. I am so glad that this post has reached and touched so many! Thank you guys so much for all the love, support and birthday wishes! It was a lot of fun, had dinner and dessert with my family and next weekend I will be having a small party with some friends.
    Hope and Love,
    Becca

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  7. This is awesome, Becca. Happy belated birthday and many more to come, I pray! Loved seeing you working as the Perk at church - PVUMC - this morning. You always put a smile in my face.

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  8. I can relate to both sides of this issue. I was born prematurely and live with various disabilities and conditions. Though none are life-threatening, I am very aware of the fact that, as a baby, I was in a life-threatening condition, so I have to be grateful for my life. Having also gone through periods where I was suicidal causes me to have somewhat mixed feelings, but overall I'm thankful to be here.

    That being said, growing old is hard sometimes, because it includes a confrontation with the things I can no longer do because I've become too old and have been missing out on when I was younger due to my health status. I mean, I will most likely never work or get a college degree, because at age 28 with a seven-year gap in my resume and no prior work experience and very few financial resources, that's just not going to happen. Then again, I realize in some ways I'm Lucky for what I do have.

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My Life As A Chronically
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